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National Singer

Serj Tankian again slams Imagine Dragons for decision to perform in Azerbaijan

12:41, June 19

System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian has once again criticized Imagine Dragons for their decision to perform in Azerbaijan, saying he has "no respect for them as people."

The aforementioned American pop rock band played a concert in the Azerbaijani capital Baku last September despite criticism that it could be seen as support for authoritarian Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Tankian previously wrote a letter to Imagine Dragons urging them to reconsider their decision to perform in Baku amid concerns that it could help “whiten the image of a dictatorial regime.”

Several other prominent musicians also called on Imagine Dragons to cancel the concert in an open letter last August. Signatories included Brian Eno, and Pink Floyd star Roger Waters.

In a new interview with music publication Metal Hammer, Tankian harshly condemned Imagine Dragons for their decision.

“Look, I'm not a judge of people who can tell bands where to play and where not to play... I understand that they do it for the money, that they are artists, that they entertain and all that. But when there is a government that is going to commit ethnic cleansing, when Azerbaijan starved 120,000 Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh and did not allow any food or medicine there... You know, if I, as an artist, knew about this, I would never be able to go and play this show. But some artists do. And I don't know what to say about these artists. I don't respect them as people. To hell with their art, as far as I’m concerned, they’re not good people.”

“If you are so blind to justice that you go to play a show in a country that is starving another country, as the International Court of Justice, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say. ... If you are still coming to play in this country, I don’t know what to say about you as a person. I don't even care about your music. If you're a bad person, I don't care... I don't have any respect for these guys."

Imagine Dragons has yet to publicly respond to the criticism. Speaking at the 2023 Reading Festival, singer Reynolds had told the crowd: “Leave everything that burdens you at the door; politics, religion, leave it alone!”

 


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